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BRITAIN



Published: Mon, January 17, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



BRITAIN

Daily Telegraph, London, Jan. 12: If you were a law professor looking for a tricky legal problem, you couldn't get much trickier than the position of the Guantanamo four, who will in all likelihood be released from police custody soon after they return here within a couple of weeks.

The detention of the men for up to three years despite the lack of evidence would offend the basic laws of justice in peacetime. But, at a time of war -- when these men were detained -- it is the right of even the most impeccable of democracies to suspend those basic laws in the defense of its people.

Sept. 11

Who would deny the right of the American government to have detained the Sept. 11 bombers if they had been caught on Sept. 10 on the merest hint that they were up to no good?

The question then becomes: how long do you detain suspects when your nation is involved in an asymmetrical war on terrorism that, as President Bush has said, may well last for decades rather than years? Momentary suspension of the basic laws of justice is a necessary evil; permanent suspension is just straightforwardly evil.

SOUTH AFRICA

The Star, Johannesburg, Jan. 12: The landslide victory in the Palestinian Authority presidential election was a good result for the resumption of the long-stalled Middle East peace process.

Abbas is clearly more committed to the peace process than his late predecessor, Yasser Arafat. But it is already clear that neither peace nor even the resumption of the peace process are assured. Abbas will have to walk a precarious tightrope between the demands for peace talks and the concerns of some Palestinians that he might sell them out.

Internal backlash

Already the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon has demanded that Abbas rein in the terrorists as a condition for resuming talks. Politically Sharon probably has to say that. But he must not make the demand too literal. Abbas is physically incapable of ending all terror, and politically, if he tries too hard to do so, he might provoke an internal backlash.

And Sharon will have to make some concessions too, by offering substantially more than his present commitment to withdraw from Gaza and only tiny bits of the West Bank.

Both men will have to tread very carefully, each dealing with his own extremists while helping the other to deal with his. It is called building the center. It was the way it was done here and it is the way it will have to be done there.

LEBANON

Daily Star, Beirut, Jan. 11: This is the age of information, the age of communication, is it not? Unless one has been asleep in a cave for the last 10 years, this fact is self-evident. For some, however, it has been a struggle to keep up with developments in this new age. In the Arab world, there is a long way to go before indigenous media find their true place and their true voice in the region.

This is where the conference "Arab Media in the Information Age," hosted in Abu Dhabi by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research has a role to play. United Arab Emirates Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (proposed the following) three major points: state-dominated Arab media should develop partnerships with the private sector; regional media should fulfill a sociopolitical role by applying pressure on Arab governments to make them more accountable to the public; and all press laws in the Arab world are long overdue for review and should, in fact, be completely overhauled.

Role of media

If implemented, these three courses of action would amount to a revolution in the nature and role of the media in Arab societies. There is no time like the present for such a revolution to begin. It is needed.

At the end of the day, perhaps the Western media ... could these days also benefit from the good sheik's message.




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